NO ROOM AT THE WHOREHOUSE
By Jeanne Lieberman
If you build it they will come was the mantra in the famous baseball movie "Field of Dreams". Well that premise certainly held true for the Pines' new theater at Whyte Hall.
Tony La Rocco was almost tearfully happy as he informed me that the last two shows were "absolutely sold out" with no SRO as Director/ choreographer DJ Salisbury also appreciated the new space so much so that he utilized every inch of it for his smashing production of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas requiring that the aisles be kept clear for cast appearances, exits and entrances.
The cast was a mix of locals and professionals, some veterans of past productions: Sue Willis, who graces the stage with her every appearance, the first family of Pines theater, Rita & Jack Lichtenstein (Jack probably spent as much time putting on his makeup and costume as time onstage, Rita proudly prancing around in her vintage floral frock), and the ever expanding talent of Nicole LaFountaine, whose voice never sounded better in a part that so suited her, Laurence Isaacson, who kept dropping his pants to hilarious effect, in fact he is always hilarious both on and offstage, Steven Alan Black whose infectious grin and affable personality is always irresistible.. There were smashing debuts: Jim Speake, a new star on the Grove/Pines horizon who just informed me that he will be performing cabaret in NYC, and a remarkable first time onstage ever for Ron Martin as the tough, taciturn and tender sheriff. The Aggies and "girls" were sexy and an audio/visual delight. And Salibury's choreography, as executed by the boys, worthy of a Broadway production.
About the show:
The legendary Texas brothel known as the Chicken Ranch (so called because the Depression customers were allowed to pay with poultry) was in existance from the 1840's to 1973 when it was shut down due to the efforts of a crusading oilier-than-thou Houston radio commentator and his vigilante Watch Dogs. The story of the brothel and its last days became the subject of a raunchy, romping musical that was tried out in the Actor's Studio, opened at Off Broadway's Entermedia Theater April 17 1978, where it played 64 performances, then moved to 46th Street Theater on June 19th where it played 1703 performances. The show was put together entirely by four transplanted Texans (Music & Lyrics: Carol Hall, Book: Larry L King & Peter Mastersin, Director/Choreographer Tommy Tune) who wanted to collaborate on a musical about the Lone Star State that would be, in Lyricist Carol Hall's words, "funny and nostalgic and tender". Carlin Glyrin played Miss Mona Stangley, whorehodse proprietor, and Henderson Forsythe, the blunt talking local sheriff Ed Earl Dodd, who had once been Mona's lover. Alexis Smith was seen as Miss Mona in the second of three road companies that toured three and a half years The film version released in 1982, co-starred Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds.
Its most famous songs: "A Lil Old Pissant Country Place", "Girl. You're a Woman", "Twentyfour hours of Lovin", "Texas Has A Whorehouse in it", "Bus From Amarillo", :"Its A Hard Candy Christmas".
Directed and choreographed by DJ Salisbury with musical direction by Brian Allan Hobbs, Steven Alan Black
Luke Hawkins*, Charles Logan*
Elissa Goldstein*, Sally Mae Dunn* Erin McGuire*, Nathan Hershberger*
Joey Abramowicz*, Elissa Goldstein*, Luke Hawins*, Nathan Hershberger*, Rory Hughes*,
Charles Logan*, Santiago Solis*
Steven Alan Black*, John Catania*, Rory Hughes*, Rita Lichtenstein, Erin McGuire*
Elissa Goldstein*, Luke Hawkins*, Nathan Hershberger*, Charles Logan*
Angelette Imogene Charlene
David Alliker, Joey Abramowicz*, Luke Hawkins*, Nathan Hershberger*, Rory Hughes*, Charles Logan*,
Rob Levy, John Catania*, Steven Alan Black*
THE WHOREHOUSE BAND Piano
this number was obviously too hot for the camera - turned red
Love is in the air
The Sheriff - Ron Martin in a spectacular stage debut
Director/choreographer D.J. Salisbury smiling!!! Thats a good sign
don't worry, it will be great!
AH! Finally, the finale
The Best Part: THE BOWS
Oh! THANK YOU
DON' T forget us up here
THANK YOU - WE :LOVE YOU, TOO
The Pines' First Couple of Theater - Rita & Jack Lichtenstein
just a couple of "politicians" kicking back
the gal with the powerful pipes
amazing - you can't see how sexy I am back here
AH! Ever the diva, even backstage
as cute offstage as on and decidedly more innocent (?)
® Music director - he starts rehearsing right away - and one of his pickup musicians (one week prior to performance)
Wow! Thank Gateway Playhouse for many of these costumes
the boys aren't as neat
opening night - tomorrow!!! BREAK A LEG EVERYBODY
NOTE: The production was a smashing success with not an extra seat to be had for the last two performances in this spanking new and spacious Whyte Hall. Aside from kudos to the entire cast and crew special thanks to Tony LaRocco who nurtured and worried his way through the entire process to its ultimate enjoyable end.
Jeanne Lieberman, publisher